U.S. Route 169 in Minnesota
U.S. 169 highlighted in red
|Maintained by Mn/DOT|
|Length:||359.523 mi (578.596 km)|
|Existed:||1931 – present|
|South end:|| US 169 in Elmore, MN
at the Minnesota–Iowa state line
| I-90 in Blue Earth
US 14 / MN 60 in Mankato
I-494 / MN 5 in Bloomington
I-394 in St. Louis Park
I-94 / I-694 in Brooklyn Park
US 10 / MN 47 in Anoka
US 10 / MN 101 in Elk River
US 2 in Grand Rapids
MN 65 near Pengilly , Nashwauk
|North end:||US 53 / MN 169 near Virginia|
|Counties:||Faribault, Blue Earth, Nicollet, Sibley, Le Sueur, Scott, Hennepin, Anoka, Sherburne, Mille Lacs, Crow Wing, Aitkin, Itasca, St. Louis|
U.S. Highway 169 (U.S. 169) is a major north–south highway in the U.S. state of Minnesota, connecting the Minnesota River valley with the Twin Cities and the Iron Range. Much of the route is built to expressway or freeway standards.
U.S. 169 enters Minnesota near Elmore as a two-lane, undivided highway, continuing as such through Blue Earth, where it crosses Interstate Highway 90. Roughly 5 miles southwest of Mankato, U.S. 169 and State Highway 60 merge to a single expressway through Mankato. In North Mankato, Highway 60 moves from a concurrency with U.S. 169 to another one with U.S. 14.
In Mankato and North Mankato, U.S. 169 functions as an arterial highway, passing directly through the cities' downtown area. From Mankato north to Shakopee, the route remains an expressway, except for the section passing through Saint Peter, where U.S. 169 is the main street through town.
55 miles (89 km) of U.S. 169 from Saint Peter to I-494 in Bloomington is officially designated the John A. Johnson Memorial Highway. This includes the Bloomington Ferry Bridge between Shakopee and Bloomington. This designation is marked as "Johnson Memorial Drive" on some maps, but not marked as such on directional signs, nor commonly known by this name.
In the Minneapolis area, the route is constructed to freeway standards between County Road 15 in Shakopee and Hennepin County Road 81. The freeway between Interstate 494 and Interstate 694 was originally built by Hennepin County as County Road 18. In 1988, County Road 18 was transferred to the state of Minnesota and became the new alignment for Highway 169 in the Minneapolis area. In exchange, Hennepin County took over maintenance of two other highways that were formerly state routes.
Also in the Minneapolis area, U.S. 169 is often very congested. However, since the freeway passes very close to residential neighborhoods in many locations, any expansion of the freeway would disrupt housing stock in the surrounding area.
North of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, U.S. 169 continues as an expressway to Mille Lacs Lake, an important resort area. The highway skirts the western shore of the lake. 74 miles (119 km) of U.S. 169 from Elk River to Garrison is officially designated the POW / MIA Memorial Highway. From Mille Lacs Lake, U.S. 169 continues northward to its junction with U.S. 2 at Grand Rapids. Here, 169 turns northeasterly to reach the cities of the Mesabi Iron Range.
At Pengilly, U.S. 169 becomes an expressway and remains such for the rest of its run. It passes through the cities of Hibbing, Chisholm, and Mountain Iron before reaching U.S. 53 at the city of Virginia. This four-lane stretch of 169 is also known as the Highway 169 Cross Range Expressway. The northern terminus of U.S. 169 is at the city of Virginia.
State Highway 169 begins immediately north of Virginia in Wuori Township; and continues northeast for 49 miles (79 km) to the cities of Tower, Ely, and Winton. State Highway 169 is numbered as an extension of U.S. 169.
Legally, the Minnesota section of U.S. 169 is defined as all or part of Routes 5, 7, 383, 3, 18, and 35 in the Minnesota Statutes §§ 161.114(2) and 161.117(4)., The route is not marked with those numbers.
U.S. 169, between the junction with State Highway 60 (south of Mankato) and the Twin Cities, was upgraded to at least expressway status over several stages. The freeway section around Mankato and the adjoining expressway sections were completed in the early 1960s, along with bypasses of Le Sueur, Jordan and Belle Plaine.
The U.S. 169 freeway bypass around Shakopee was built in the mid-1990s along a new alignment, which included the newly constructed Bloomington Ferry Bridge. Prior to this realignment, U.S. 169 crossed the Minnesota River from downtown Shakopee where it had been co-signed with State Highway 101. North of the river crossing, U.S. 169 had previously been co-signed with what was then U.S. 212 (Flying Cloud Drive) through Eden Prairie until 1996.
An expressway section of Highway 169 through southern Hennepin County was converted to full freeway in 2006, with new interchanges constructed at Pioneer Trail and Anderson Lakes Parkway. At-grade intersections with traffic signals have been removed at the recently constructed Interstate 494 interchange, which was previously a point of frequent congestion.
In 2008, construction began on a new Highway 169 interchange with County Road 81 and 85th Avenue North in Brooklyn Park. This interchange is also known as The Devil's Triangle, or simply as "The Triangle", because of the major traffic congestion during rush hour, especially in the afternoon. Construction was completed on August 11, 2011.
During the flooding of September 2010, flood waters destroyed a 150 foot section of the northbound lanes of Highway 169 between St. Peter and Le Sueur. Mn/DOT believes, "when the flood waters rose up it found a weak spot in the slope or the dirt bank and got under the grass and started mining under the pavement. Finally, it just sucked all the dirt out and the pavement just dropped into a hole." Traffic was detoured to the southbound lanes of 169 for a month, resulting in a temporary two lane expressway, until the northbound section was repaired.
In November 2010, construction began on a completely redesigned Highway 169 interchange at Interstate 494, where three traffic signals had existed. The new interchange features six roundabouts, new flyover bridges, and two new bridges over I-494 that will carry West 78th Street and Washington Avenue. Major construction began in March 2011. Construction continued in spring 2012 with the completion of reconstructing surrounding roads and remaining ramps. Mn/DOT completed the entire project in November 2012. The 2010 cost of the construction project was $140 million.  
A study to convert U.S. 169 to a freeway between U.S. 10 in Elk River to 277th Avenue north of Zimmerman was completed in late 2009. A complete review of the project by Mn/DOT will occur in 2011. A complete construction schedule and timeline will then by released by Mn/DOT. Allocation of funds for the project is currently underway and the only thing holding back from starting the project. The project is expected to cost around $178 Million. In the meantime, the 14 miles between U.S. 10 in Elk River to 277th Avenue north of Zimmerman will be resurfaced during the 2012 construction season. The construction will begin in May 2012. 
Exit list for freeway section in Twin Cities
All exits are unnumbered.
|County 15 (Marystown Road)|
|County 17 (Marschall Road)|
|County 83 (Canterbury Road)|
|To MN 13 – Burnsville, Savage||Northbound exit and southbound entrance|
|County 21||northbound exit is via previous exit|
| County 101 – Shakopee
To MN 13 – Burnsville, Savage
|Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|Bloomington Ferry Bridge|
|County 1 east (Old Shakopee Road) / Riverview Road||South end of CR 1 overlap|
|County 1 west (Pioneer Trail)||North end of CR 1 overlap|
|Bloomington Ferry Road, Anderson Lakes Parkway|
|Washington Avenue, Marth Road|
|I-494 / MN 5|
|Valley View Road|
|US 212 west / MN 62|
|Londonderry Road, Bren Road|
|7th Street South|
|County 3 – Downtown Hopkins|
St. Louis Park
|MN 7 – Minneapolis, Excelsior|
|St. Louis Park||127.974–
|36th Street||Southbound exit and northbound entrance|
|County 5 (Minnetonka Boulevard) to US 169 south|
|Cedar Lake Road|
|Frontage Road||Northbound exit and entrance|
|St. Louis Park–
|I-394 – Minneapolis|
|Betty Crocker Drive, Shelard Parkway|
|MN 55 – Minneapolis, Buffalo|
|13th Avenue, Plymouth Avenue|
|County 70 (Medicine Lake Road)|
|36th Avenue North|
|County 9 (Rockford Road)|
|49th Avenue North|
|County 10 (Bass Lake Road)|
|63rd Avenue North|
|I-94 / I-694|
|County 130 (77th Avenue North, Brooklyn Boulevard)|
|Brooklyn Park||139.572||224.619||County 81 / County 109||Converted from an at-grade to an interchange in 2011|
|Freeway ends, US 169 continues as a four-lane expressway|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- Riner, Steve. "Details of routes 152-218". The Unofficial Minnesota Highways Page. Self-published. Retrieved November 21, 2010.[unreliable source]
- "Trunk Highway Log Point Listing - Construction District 1" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. August 20, 2010.
- "Trunk Highway Log Point Listing" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Transportation. August 20, 2010. Retrieved November 21, 2010.[dead link]
|U.S. Route 169|